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CAN SOFT DRINK TAXES REDUCE POPULATION WEIGHT?

Authors

  • JASON M. FLETCHER,

    1. Fletcher: Assistant Professor, School of Public Health, Division of Health Policy and Administration, Yale University, 60 College Street, New Haven, CT 06510, USA. Phone 203-785-5760, Fax 203-785-6287, E-mail jason.fletcher@yale.edu.
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  • DAVID FRISVOLD,

    1. Frisvold: Assistant Professor, Department of Economics, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322-2240, USA. Phone 404-727-7833, Fax 404-727-4639, E-mail david.frisvold@emory.edu.
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  • NATHAN TEFFT

    1. Tefft: Assistant Professor, Department of Economics, Bates College, 4 Andrews Road, Lewiston, ME 04240, USA. Phone 207-786-6069, Fax 207-786-8337, E-mail ntefft@bates.edu
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    • *The authors thank Kitt Carpenter, Tim Classen, Joseph Newhouse, Tara Watson, and participants at the American Society of Health Economists Conference for helpful comments. Financial assistance from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (Frisvold) is gratefully acknowledged. The project described was supported by Award Number T32MH018029 from the National Institute of Mental Health (Tefft). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institute of Mental Health or the National Institutes of Health. The authors thank Jennifer Hefner, Alejandra Roa, and John Zimmerman for excellent research assistance.


Abstract

Soft drink consumption has been hypothesized as one of the major factors in the growing rates of obesity in the United States. Nearly two-thirds of all states currently tax soft drinks using excise taxes, sales taxes, or special exceptions to food exemptions from sales taxes to reduce consumption of this product, raise revenue, and improve public health. In this paper, we evaluate the impact of changes in state soft drink taxes on body mass index (BMI), obesity, and overweight. Our results suggest that soft drink taxes influence BMI, but that the impact is small in magnitude.(JEL I18, H75)

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